Patients will experience numbness on or near the incision, the ear, the face, and the area behind the ear when sensory nerves near those areas are cut during surgery, especially with the division of all or part of the greater auricular nerve.
Patients may have a feeling of hardness, or a wooden feeling in these areas after surgery, which is normal.
The numbness and wooden feeling will last for quite some time. The amount of time that it takes for the numbness or wooden feeling to go away varies by patient; however, it is not unusual for the numbness to last for one year or longer. The area of numbness often gets smaller and any discomfort improves over time.
Some patients may never get back to where they were before surgery and may have to learn to live with some level of numbness to these areas.